Sunday, January 29, 2006

Free Irving: A Dissenting View

Though this writer to the Observer takes a view which differs from mine, he makes an argument, one which should be of interest to those folks who feel I am wrong about wanting him freed. The problem is that how do you choose which words inflame and which words do not. Sometimes it's clear. Other times it's not.

Irving is no martyr

Does David Irving deserve to be prosecuted and imprisoned?


Free speech is a misnomer since speech carries burdens of responsibility and, while no word that may convey ideas unpalatable to us should be censored, words that twist and corrupt and deny the truth, words that inflame the ignorant and are manna for racial hatred and, therefore, inspire evil deeds, ought to be punished.

For Irving to deny the existence of gas chambers as a myth in the face of overwhelming evidence, and from a historian as learned as he prides himself to be, implies an agenda which is as unpalatable as it is loathsome.

Irving would be no 'martyr to free speech' by imprisoning him any more than Oswald Mosley was when he was incarcerated. Martyrs are made of different stuff and are kept alive by the outrage of those whose lives were inspired by a liberating truth.


Steven Berkoff

Friday, January 27, 2006

A revealing and revolting video attack

While I am generally reluctant to send people to antisemitic sites [why increase the traffic to these purveyors of hate?], I was recently alerted to a video from David Irving's Real History conference in which Michael Hoffman II, someone well known to those who are aware of the cohort of racists, antisemites, and deniers, engages in a virulent attack on me.

On the video, Deborah Lipstadt, "Amalek" and David Irving, Michael A. Hoffman II claims that "Deborah Lipstadt and her clique" were calling for the murder of Irving. I have made him and all other deniers "subject to assassination."

Rather hysterically [amusingly] he quotes an article written by Rela Mintz Geffen and immediately connects her with David Geffen [the Hollywood mogul] and suggests this connection must be "investigated." [Rela probably wishes it was true.]

He accuses Rela, Gary Rosenblatt [editor of the New York Jewish Week], the reporters at the Jerusalem Post and me as engaging in a "murderous polemic," "homicidal rage," and calling for the assassination of David Irving.

In true conspiracy theory, he refers to editorial decisions by "higher ups" and "the party line," adhered to by all Jewish organizations. He claims that the reason I won was because one of the "most powerful governments in the world, Israel," intervened on my behalf.

In short he argues that I have assassination in store for David Irving and have started a "Zionist assassination chic," which calls for the assassination of Palestinians.

I guess if someone asked why -- if I wanted to kill Irving -- I was calling for his release from jail, Hoffman might say: because I can't get at him when he is in jail.

It is dripping with hatred but, if you want to see what these people are like, it's worth watching.

Just be forewarned: you need a strong stomach.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Words Kill

What do Woody Allen, Dick Gregory and Harry Belafonte have in common with James Dobson?

This is the question that Suzanne Fields, a columnist with the Washington Times, asks in a provocative op-ed column on
They all blur distinctions of the evil of the Third Reich, making exaggerated analogies in pursuit of a flawed political point -- or in Woody Allen's case, a crass attempt to be funny.

Belafonte was asked by Cybercast News Service whether the fact that both of George W’s Secretaries of State were African American had enhanced the African American community’s opinion of the President. Belafonte responded:

Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value.

This statement is not only a complete inaccuracy but also leads me to wonder whether to Belafonte there is a certain analogy between Hitler’s regime and the current American administration. However one may oppose Bush’s policies and be appalled by treatment of prisoners and infringement of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, the analogy is just wrong.

Fields goes on to note that the comedian Dick Gregory made a similar analogy when talking about Black conservatives. He said:

[They] have a right to exist, but why would I want to walk around with a swastika on my shirt after the way Hitler done messed it up?

Black conservatives may be problematic [some, such as Justice Thomas, seem completely insensitive to their people’s situation and history], but to compare them to Hitlerian forces seems to me, to put it kindly, to push the edges of the envelope.

But the worst comes from Woody Allen. In an interview with Der Spiegel, in June of last year, he engaged in, what Fields correctly identifies as, moral equivalence.

So in 2001 some fanatics killed some Americans, and now some Americans are killing some Iraqis….. And in my childhood, some Nazis killed Jews. And now some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other. . . . History is the same thing over and over again.

Woody used to be funny but this kind of trivialization of the Holocaust and misstatement of the facts seems to indicate that this man has lost it.

Fields, to her credit, does not ignore people from the far right end of the spectrum. She notes that James Dobson, director of Focus on the Family, [one of the leading antiabortion conservative groups around] had repeatedly compared embryonic stem cell research to Nazi death-camp experiments. Dobson said "Ultimately, one life will be sacrificed to benefit another. That's evil."

As Fields notes, there may be a legitimate debate about whether there should be federal funding for stem cell research [I enthusiastically support it]. But it is more than wrong to say the motives of those conducting this research are evil. Fields writes: “The motives behind the research are not evil. Josef Mengele was evil.”

Fields thinks Dobson is a “thoughtful and decent man.” I must disagree. Anyone who can say such things is hardly thoughtful. And decent….?

One can disagree with federal funding of such research but to say that the objectives of those conducting such research are evil is deeply insulting – at best -- and shows Dobson’s willingness to demonize anyone who disagrees with him.

[And for some of Dobson’s followers demons are serious business. For these folks there is only one thing that can be done to them. It is the same thing that should have been done to Mengele.]

People like Dobson may not throw stones or bombs but he says the words which get others to throw the stones and the bombs. As I write in the final paragraphs of History on Trial:

It was words that motivated those who blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, dragged an African-American down a logging road to his death, tortured a young homosexual in Wyoming, stabbed a Jewish student to death on the streets of
Crown Heights, blew up Israeli families about to celebrate the Passover Seder, and flew planes into the World Trade Center.
It’s been eight years since Dr. Barnett Slepian was murdered for providing abortions. I wonder if Dobson’s followers will soon target the researchers who do stem cell research.

Whether they come from the right or the left, these kinds of analogies are historically inaccurate. They trivialize the Holocaust. And they can be downright dangerous.

Monday, January 23, 2006

This blog's 1st anniversary

It's a year since my friend Sasha showed me how to blog. We were at LimmudNY and within a few minutes she had me started. [BTW, went back to LimmudNY again this year -- only for a short visit -- and it was very impressive. Limmud (UK), aka the original Limmud, was outstanding again this year.]

I have tried to keep this blog focused on issues relating to Holocaust denial, Holocaust history, antisemitism, and related matters.

Traffic on the blog, while small from Internet standards, is now about 100+ people a day. We have had over 32,000 visitors this past year. I hope that the comments on this blog have gotten people thinking about these issues -- whether they disagree or agree with me.

I appreciate those who have commented and urge them to continue doing so.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Scotland's Sunday Herald: David Irving threatened lawsuits to keep jounralists quiet

Today's Scotland Sunday Herald has a short vignette about an encounter between the late Chaim Bermant, a dignified British journalist and writer who happened to be Jewish, and David Irving. Bermant’s article never ran because Irving threatened to sue the paper for libel if it did.

The Herald suggests that this was Irving’s s.o.p. [standard operating procedure]. Threaten a lible suit whenever someone seems poised to write something critical about you.

It was one of the reasons why I knew I could not ignore David Irving's libel threat, though some people adised me to do so.

People, whose modus operandi is to frighten people by threatening them, have to be shown that they cannot use threats to achieve their goals.

Irving strikes me as a bully. Bullies succeed when others let them get away with what their bullying.

Iranian Television Symposium: Jews are the "board of directors of the world" [and other fantasies]

Memri has posted some excerpts from a panel on Iranian TV. The discussion panel featured Iqbal Siddiqu, co-founder of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought and editor-in-chief of its magazine Crescent International, and political analysts Dr. Majid Goudarzi and Dr. Majid Safataj.


* deny the Holocaust [Actually Siddiqu does not -- he probably knows
his credibility in the UK would be completely shot if he did -- but argues that
the issue is not the Holocaust but the use to which Jews have put the event

* claim the Jews want to rule the world [their proof text is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion],

* claim the first Holocaust denier was a Jew

* Jews were among those who founded the [once] leading [and now fairly defunct] Holocaust denial unit, the Institute for Historical Review

* Jews became the "became the board of directors of the world"

and lots of other venemous stuff. It's quite revealing [if one needed any more revelations on this matter].

Saturday, January 21, 2006

American Specator article comes to some very wrong conclusions

A recent article, "Drawing the Line," by Christopher Orlet in the American Spectator concludes that because I have called for Irving's release I am therefore a "Leftist." Regarding my comment "Let [David Irving] go and and let him fade from everyone's radar screens," the author says "Yes, but isn't that what many people said about a certain Austrian 70 years ago?"

Orlet seems to have forgotten -- or ignored because it was convenient to do so -- the fact that, when a lot of people were counseling me to ignore Irving, I answered his libel charge and fought him.

He also makes a point of identifying me as a Jew. What, may I ask, is the relevance of that?

Orlet links me with Noam Chomsky. Had he paid attention to my book Denying the Holocaust he would know that I spent quite a bit of space in the book attacking Chomsky for his active support of deniers in the name of free speech.

I have written the following letter to the editor regarding this piece.

To the Editor of the American Spectator:

I note that Mr. Orlet has decided that I am a Leftist [though, to quote Larry David/ Jerry Seinfeld, "there's nothing wrong with that"] because I have said that Austria should not keep Irving in jail.

The noise I hear right now is many of my friends laughing hysterically at his rather absurd conclusion.

But first my bone fides to comment on this issue: I spent over 6 years defending myself against David Irving and, in the course of so doing, proving that he nothing but a liar, racist, antisemite, and pathetic figure. Had Mr. Orlet bothered to educate himself about the trial [he could start by reading my recent book History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving or Richard Evans' Lying About Hitler], he would see that often during the ten week trial Irving was left looking like the court jester, silly and almost irrelevant.

When the battle was over the press treated him as some sort of has been. That is why I said the Austrian courts should not resurrect him as a so-called martyr for free speech. No one of any stature -- except maybe for John Keegan --- takes him seriously anymore.

In any case, while Orlet has every right to disagree with me -- and there are many people whose opinions I actually value who do think I am wrong about letting him go -- his glib conclusion that I am therefore of one political inclination or another shows his own shallow thinking.

In fact, to some degree his modus operandi reminds me of David Irving's. Irving has a conclusion and bends the facts [or simply invents them] to fit his pre-existing ideas. Orlet seems to have done the same thing. It is hardly a mark of honor.

Deborah E. Lipstadt, Ph.D.

P.S. Orlet groups me with Noam Chomsky. He might take a look at my earlier book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory in which I devote quite a bit of space to an attack on Noam Chomsky for his support of deniers in the name of free speech. I am no fan of Chomsky's about whom, I believe, the best that can be said -- and this is being generous -- is that he is one of God's fools.

Irving's Trial and the Free Speech Argument

Since reading the article in The Times [London] which condemned the forthcoming trial of David Irving in Austria on the grounds of free speech, I have been troubled by something. A lot of people seem to assume that I am opposed to the trial. I am not. Austria is a democracy whose people can pass or reject any law they wish. Their judiciary is, as far as I know, completely independent.

I cannot therefore say that the trial is "wrong" or "undemocratic."

Simply put my position is: 1. I don't like laws against Holocaust denial on two grounds.

2. I don't like the idea of censorship because it is contrary to the concept of Free Speech and because I think it makes the forbidden speech more -- not less -- alluring.

3. This whole thing is not smart from a strategic perspective.

Friday, January 20, 2006

An European Union counter conference?

There is an interview with Götz Aly, a prominent historian of the Third Reich, in Der Spiegel online today about Iran's planned denial conference. Aly was asked if he would be willing to participate in the Tehran denial conference.

Aly of course declined, but then made an intriguing suggestion. The European Union should organize a counter-conference with the participation of Arab and Israeli intellectuals and Holocaust researchers from around the world. When asked by Der Spiegel who should host such a conference, Aly suggested the European Union.

While I find the idea intriguing, my fear is that such a conference would become a generalized discussion of genocide and suffering [and somebody would be bound to try to introduce the Palestinians which, as any sane person -- irrespective of their political views -- knows, have suffered no genocide].

If it could be an intellectual and historical enterprise and not a political one, it might be a fitting response to Iran's outrageous behavior. But I wonder whether politics could be kept out of it.

Maybe I am wrong to be so pessimistic. After all I dismissed David Irving's initial threat to sue me for libel as a ridiculous nuicance.... I was wrong then and I could be wrong again.

A Delicious Irony: The [London] Times Oped on Irving's Arrest

The Times [London] has an oped piece on Irving's arrest. It is rooted in a free speech argument. There is however an intrguing observation which sheds light on a central irony in this whole matter.
The Times [London]

January 20, 2006

We can't deny the deniers
Ben Macintyre


The Simon Wiesenthal Centre estimates that some 40 Nazi suspects are still living in Austria, and accuses Austria of a lamentable record in apprehending war criminals.Irving is in prison for writing about the Holocaust, in a country where people who took part in the Holocaust are still at liberty.

Irving would be able to argue that the people who operated the gas chambers should be prosecuted before people who make speeches about them, except that he is on record as saying that the gas chambers never existed. Ironies don’t come much more savoury than that.

Irving's Imprisonment: A Different View

Last night I had a conversation with some friends in Houston, whose views I generally share. They spoke about Irving's imprisionment and expressed the hope that the Austrians will keep him. He can, they argued, do far less damage sitting in jail then roaming the world spreading his lies.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lipstadt Disagrees with Orac: The President of Iran is crazy.... like a fox

While I agree with the essence of Orac's comments in the previous post, I must strongly dissent from one aspect. I would not describe Ahmadinegad as a loon or a zombie [see Orac's full essay].

The man may say things that sound "off the wall" but, I think, he is crazy like a fox. He knows that this builds him up at home and in the broader Muslim world and gets the rest of the world to pay him attention.

Just imagine what we would think of someone who described Hitler in 1924 or 1935, for that matter, as a loon. Today we would say that they seriously missed the boat.

BTW, I do NOT mean to analogize between Hitler and Ahmadinegad. Based on current behaviors, there is a world of difference between them. However, I do mean to analogize to the world's reaction.

Respectful Insolence (a.k.a. "Orac Knows"): The loon running Iran

"Orac" is the pseudonym of a blogger who has spent several years in the trenches combatting Holocaust deniers in that corner of the cyberuniverse known as alt.revisionism. His blog contains several essays on denial, including one of today's date on "the loon running Iran" which has generated some discussion amongst his readers. Orac observes:
Respectful Insolence (a.k.a. "Orac Knows"): The loon running Iran

[...] here we go with typical Holocaust denial paranoia. Naturally, it's all the "Jews'" fault; it's all a Jewish conspiracy, and Ahmadinejad is representing himself as the "brave" seeker of truth pitted against nefarious forces that don't want him to find the "truth." Anyone want to make a bet that about what this "conference" will end up concluding? Gee, you don't think they'll conclude that the Holocaust was exaggerated and the extermination of European Jewry was not the intent of Hitler and the Nazis, do you? If you have any doubts, this interview on state-controlled Iranian television should lay them to doubt, an interview in which the Institute for Historical Review, the granddaddy of Holocaust denial organizations, is cited as a credible source, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is treated as truth, and lots of denier canards are trotted out as fact, should lay them to rest.


These supposed "experts" are also spouting the most basic, easily debunked denier canards out there, ones I've debunked again and again on alt.revisionism and whose detailed rebuttals can be found through a perfunctory perusal of The Holocaust History Project and Nizkor.


The bottom line is that the President of Iran is an anti-Semite and racist of the worst variety, and that's what's behind his Holocaust denial. Even worse, his mind appears to have been consumed by the Hitler zombie, a rare combination. Trying to have it both ways, he denies that Hitler attempted to exterminate European Jewry, yet he still finds the Nazis a convenient evil to use to demonize Israel with by comparing its treatment of the Palestinians with the "aggressions and massacres" of Israel. Never mind that, whatever excesses the Israelis may have committed in dealing with the Palestinians, they aren't even on the same planet when compared to what the Nazis did to their enemies.

Germany Condemns Proposed Iranian Holocaust Conference

On German radio's DW World website, there is an article containing comments from various German politicians. Here are some excerpts:
Nick Amies | | © Deutsche Welle.

Germany Condemns Proposed Iranian Holocaust Conference

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called the Holocaust a "myth"

The Iranian government's announcement that it plans to hold a conference on the Holocaust with notorious deniers as guests has caused outrage in Germany.

The Iranian government announced last weekend that it is planning a conference on the Holocaust and intends to invite academics such as German neo-Nazi Horst Mahler, the Israeli journalist and Christian convert Israel Shamir and the historian David Irving -- all of whom are Holocaust deniers -- as guest speakers.

While there was some debate among western officials immediately after the announcement was made as to whether the conference would actually take place or that it was intended to provoke, politicians, especially in Germany, were up in arms at the idea of such a conference.

"This is international anti-Semitism at work," said Gert Weisskirchen, the foreign affairs spokesman for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel. His parliamentary colleague, Left Party member Norman Paech, added that the conference was part of an on-going "strategy of provocation" being employed by the Iranian government.

Werner Hoyer from the free-market liberal Free Democratic Party told Der Spiegel that the idea of the conference was "untenable" and that such a meeting of Holocaust skeptics at a time of heightened tensions over Iran's nuclear ambitions was a "dangerous spark in the powder keg."


Green party chief Reinhard Bütikofer said that the planned conference was further evidence that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was pursuing an "unrestrained policy of anti-Semitic indoctrination" in Iran. President Ahmadinejad has called the Holocaust a "myth" and has questioned the right of Israel to exist.

Bütikofer said Ahmadinejad had used public statements questioning the legitimacy of the Holocaust to mobilize Iranian fundamentalists. This will lead, he said, to "the international isolation of the Iranian regime." Everybody which gets involved in anti-Semitism or racism soils its own culture and nation, he added. "This also applies to Iran."

Weisskirchen meanwhile cautioned western leaders not to be sucked into a further row with Iran as the so-called "Holocaust experts" could not be taken seriously. [...]
"Ahmadinejad apparently now tries to give a quasi-scientific meaning to his rhetoric," Weisskirchen said.

As well as condemning the conference, German politicians were quick to point out that any Germans who spoke at the conference would have to accept the legal consequences. Holocaust denial is a criminal offence in Germany.


Gerry Gable, the former editor of anti-fascist magazine Searchlight and an authority on Irving told DW-WORLD that if Irving escapes prosecution in Austria, he and his fellow speakers will be free to travel to the Middle East to speak with impunity.

"Iran obviously has no law against Holocaust denial and therefore if Irving or anyone else speaks there they will not be punished," Gable said. "Irving cannot be punished in any other country for denying the Holocaust in one with no laws against it."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Iranian Holocaust denial: a new development

A scholar who specializes in Persia/Iran has pointed out to me that Holocaust denial is something entirely new in the panoply of Iranian anti-Zionism. According to him, this is something quite different from anything we have seen before.

Der Spiegel: The Price Lipstadt is paying for calling for Irving's release

Der Spiegel observes that I have paid a "price" for articulating my belief that the Austrians should let him go when he comes to trial in February.

Germany's right-wing, extremist National-Zeitung has quoted me in an article titled "Worldwide Protests against Irving's Arrest."

They have skewered me before. That's not surprising. But to see them citing me as an authoritative voice is quite mind-boggling.

What the National Zeitung, not surprisingly, chooses to ignore is that I have not protested Irving's arrest. After all, he broke the law. I just don't think that the Austrians gain anything by keeping him in jail any longer.

Der Spiegel also notes that prior to leaving for Austria Irving signed 60 blank checks and packed 8 shirts, even though his trip was only scheduled to last two days. This would seem to indicate that Irving was expecting -- and some have said hoping -- to get arrested.

Lipstadt in Seattle and Portland January 22-23

Deborah Lipstadt will be speaking at the University of Washington in Seattle on Sunday afternoon 1/22 at 3 p.m. in Kane Hall. For details contact the Jewish Studies office at the University.

On Monday the 23rd at 7 p.m. she will be at Portland State University in the Columbia Falls Ballroom at University Place. The lecture is sponsored by PSU's Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies and the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland.

More on Holocaust Denial Conference in Iran

I have now been contacted by one of the leading papers in Brazil for an interview. Their interest is motivated by the confluence of Irving's forthcoming trial and the conference in Iran.

My assumption is that media interest will only grow with time, particularly as the debate in the west continues: what should be done about Iran's work in the nuclear field.

It's amazing and a bit sobering how all these things fit together.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Thoughts on the Conference in Iran

I have been asked by journalists and regular folk about the conference in Iran. I am sure it will include the regular cast of characters [Zundel, Irving, Rudolf (who goes by many names), leading deniers from the Arab/Muslim world] etc.

They will, I am sure, raise many of the tried and false arguments about the Holocaust, many of which we demolished in my trial, but that won't stop them.

This will be the biggest thing in the world of Holocaust deniers and other liars. It will give them a stage unlike anything they have had since the trial.

There will be lots of press there because of how this is linked with Iran's rantings about destroying Israel and with its latest very dangerous maneuvers on nuclear energy/ weapons.

Serious thought has to be given how to address this. I only hope the press is well prepared to hear these arguments and to figure out why they are all false. It's a big hope....

Monday, January 16, 2006

Iran to Host Conference on the Holocaust

Jan 15, 10:14 AM EST
Iran Announces Conference on Holocaust
Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran, whose president has denied the Holocaust, said Sunday it would hold a conference to examine the scientific evidence concerning Nazi Germany's extermination of 6 million Jews.

Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has recently provoked global condemnation for saying the Holocaust is a "myth" and calling for Israel to be wiped from the face of the earth. Iran further alarmed Western countries last week by restarting its research at a nuclear facility after a two-year freeze.

"It is a strange world. It is possible to discuss everything except the Holocaust," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

"The Foreign Ministry plans to hold a conference on the scientific aspect of the issue to discuss and review
its repercussions."

Asefi did not say where or when the conference would be held or who would attend.

Earlier this month, the Association of Muslim Journalists, a hard-line group, proposed holding a similar conference.
But Asefi said he was not aware of the association's wishes. He said the conference he announced was planned and supported by the ministry.

On Saturday, Ahmadinejad urged the West to be open-minded enough to allow a free international debate on the real aspects of the Holocaust.

Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., has said he understood Iran was considering a conference to call into question the evidence that the Nazis conducted a mass murder of European Jews during World War Two.

BBC Northern Ireland Interview Available

To listen to my interview with Radio Foyle, BBC Northern Ireland, go to their webpage. The interviewer, Susan McReynolds, introduces me as the person "who stopped David Irving in his tracks."

While I clearly did not do this alone and could not have done it without my legal team [lawyers, historians, experts, paralegals et. al.] and those who supported me [contributors to my defense fund, Emory University etc.], McReynolds' comment is a reflection of how Irving is thought of in much of the world.

Of course, I fully epect that he will be a guest of honor at the forthcoming conference on Holocaust denial in Iran.

Story on Irving in Der Spiegel

"Der Spiegel" has a major story about Irving in its issue of today. It is available on the following server:

The following is a summary of some of the more important passages, courtesy of Albrecht Kolthoff.

The Spiegel reporter obviously has visited and spoken with Irving in the Vienna prison.

Irving is writing his memoirs in his prison cell, 20 pages each day. Writing his memoirs in prison cells ("in Festungshaft" as the reporter writes, imprisonment in afortress, like Hitler in Landsberg) has a certain tradition, and a grinning Irving is quoted: "Vielleicht sollte ich sie 'Mein Krieg' nennen" ("Perhaps I should call them 'My War'").

His daughter finds it "cool" that her daddy is in prison.

Irving had prepared his two-day visit in Austria very well: he had left 60 blank cheques in London and had packed eight shirts in his baggage. He was always prepared for everything, Irving said.

According to the reporter, Irving knew that there was an arrest warrant for him. In 1989 the then Federal Chancellor Franz Vranitzky himself had threatened to have Irving arrested immediately if he would again appear in Austria. Irving is quoted:

"Ich bin aus einer Offiziersfamilie", knurrt es hinter dem Panzerglas, "wir marschieren in Richtung des anonenfeuers." ("I am from an officer's family", it is growling from behind the bulletproof glass, "we do march in the direction of gunfire".)

He will have sent his famous pin-stripe suit to Vienna for his trial starting on February 20.

Deborah Lipstadt: "Er ist ein größenwahnsinniger Klassentyrann" ("He is a megalomaniacal classroom tyrant").

Irving is quoted speaking about Sir Arthur Harris: "Ich spreche von ihm als Befehlshaber. Wie Dönitz", erklärt er mit leuchtenden Augen. "Wenn man täglich 20 000 junge Menschen in den Tod schicken kann, dann ist man ein großer Befehlshaber." (I speak of him as commander. Like Dönitz", he explains with shining eyes. "If one can send 20,000 young people to death every day he is a great commander.")

Irving is asked why he first declared the faked Hitler diaries as counterfeits and soon after as genuine. He replies: "Das war ein Gag", kommt es wie aus der Pistole geschossen, "so etwas war Entertainment, das hatte alles nichts mit Zeitgeschichte zu tun. Ich wollte sehen, wie die Historiker darauf reagieren." ("That was a gag", he replies like a shot, "that's entertainment, it had nothing to do with contemporanean history. I wanted to see how the historians would react.")

Just three months ago he has moved to a new apartment near Downing Street nd Buckingham Palace, "um das Establishment zu provozieren" ("to provoke the Establishment"). "Es freut mich, jeden Morgen vom Fenster meiner Wohnung aus die vorbeimarschierende Truppe zu ehen" ("I'm glad to see the troops march by every morning from my apartment's window"); the Austrians just were jealous of the British monarchy.

"Nicht seine Bücher, sondern seine Vorträge haben Irving ins Gefängnis gebracht" (Not his books, but his lectures have brought him to prison).

Deborah Lipstadt: "Wenn Sie mir vor ein paar Monaten gesagt hätten, dass ich einmal David Irvings Freilassung fordere", erklärt Irvings schärfste Kontrahentin Deborah Lipstadt am Telefon, "hätte ich Sie für verrückt erklärt." (If you had told me a few months ago that I once would demand Irving's release I would have declared you insane", Irving's sharpest adversary Deborah Lipstadt explains on the phone.)

Irving's lawyer Elmar Kresbach, a counsel experienced with murder amd Mafia cases, is going to assert naivety and new insight for his client, and annonced that Irving wouldn't speak much at the forthcoming trial.

Malte Herwig
SPIEGEL 3/2006, S.152-155

Lipstadt in Sarasota January 17th

DEBORAH LIPSTADT will discuss "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory" at 7 p.m. Tuesday January 17 at Temple Beth Israel, 567 Bay Isles Road, Sarasota. Call 365-4955.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

History on Trial Reviewed in (Washington's) The Weekly Standard

There is a review of History on Trial in this week's issue of The Weekly Standard. The full review is only available to subscribers, but here is an excerpt:
The Standard Reader
Deborah E. Lipstadt's History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving.
1/7/2006 12:05:00 AM, Volume 011, Issue 17

Books in Brief

History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving by Deborah E. Lipstadt (Ecco, 368 pp., $25.95).

Before long the generation of eyewitnesses who survived Hitler's war against the Jews will pass on, thus removing an obstacle to Holocaust deniers. Fortunately, they suffered a setback when Deborah Lipstadt was awarded damages from David Irving in a London courtroom in April 2000. Irving, a prominent World War II historian (at least until the aftermath of the trial) had sued Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin UK, for defamation following the publication of her Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (1993). In her book, Lipstadt called Irving one of the most dangerous spokesmen of the Holocaust denial movement.

The ensuing trial attracted a great deal of attention, as a judgment for Irving might have emboldened the Holocaust deniers who claim that the genocide of European Jewry was a hoax. Irving, among his other claims, had declared that there were no gas chambers (he once stated that "more people had died in the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz"), nor was there a systematic extermination of 5 to 6 million Jews, and he absolved Hitler of any involvement in the Holocaust.

History on Trial is Lipstadt's riveting account of the trial. [...]

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Lipstadt on BBC-Northern Ireland

I was just contacted by the BBC in Northern Ireland and asked to appear on one of their shows [radio] next week. According to the host with whom I spoke, my comments about denial, free speech, incitement, et. al. have struck a chord.

Stay tuned for time and date. [It's a morning show in Northern Ireland so I may have to get up at 4 a.m. to do it....]

From the nephew of Sven Hedin, explorer of Tibet, and friend of Hitler

This note comes from a nephew of Sven Hedin, who was Hitler's friend, close with the Nazi leadership, and an "explorer" of Tibet. [For a moment I had mistakenly confused him with Heinrich Harrer, who was the Dalai Lama's tutor. Hedin was not.]

After reading what he wrote about his family [in bold below], I told him that I understand why he lives in Bali far from his family!

Dear Professor Lipstadt,

I read your comments regarding David Irving on the BBC website this morning and I felt compelled to write to express my admiration and thanks ....

Irving and his fellow travelers are sad, pathetic liars who, for whatever twisted reasons, seek to deny one of the greatest tragedies ever to befall Europe, but to lock them up serves no purpose. In your own High Court case, which I followed with great interest, you displayed admirable courage.... I was pleased to read that you are now showing yourself to be magnanimous as well.

Being a great-nephew of the explorer (and friend of Hitler), Sven Hedin, I come from a family which has frequent (and heated) arguments about the 30's and 40's, accountability and denial, and I was therefore particularly interested in your case and work.

Several otherwise sane and lovely members of my family insist to this very day that nobody knew what was going on in Germany, that the Holocaust was at best exaggerated (and possibly invented) and that our own family's friendship with the Nazi leadership was perfectly innocent and harmless.

My oldest aunt, would you believe, still refers to Goring as 'dear uncle Herrmann', so the issues which you discuss are very close to my heart.

Again, thank you for your thoughtful, restrained comments. I myself would possibly have used slightly stronger language, but that would of course only have put more coal on the fire, as it were.

Yours, with admiration and gratitude,
Bali, Indonesia

Some Very Different Reactions to BBC Interview

My friend [and a person who gallantly assisted me with my research], Jamie McCarthy, who is a free speech absolutist, reminds me that in 1998 he wrote the following about Irving:
If he believes in free speech, why is he suing Americans for libel in England? England has the most draconian libel laws in the world.
Jamie's comment is on the Holocaust History Project website, a great resource.

Now here's a wierd one which was posted on something called The writer claims that I the reason I want Irving released at the time of his trial is because I "fear a demise of the Holohoax.":
Since Mr. Irving's arrest, the mythology of the Zionist religion of the Holocaust has attained unprecedented global exposure. Lipstadt is trying to preserve the dogma and profits of the Holocaust Industry.
I don't think this deserves any comment, except for the fact that Irving has gotten a lot more PR as a result of his arrest which lead some to speculate that he had engineered this in order to boost his profile.

And then there was one from Richard in Connecticut:
I think Irving should go home too, and for reasons similar to yours. However, what is the risk that instead of falling into obscurity, he becomes a hero in Iran and lends some kind of credibility to their denial arguments among their constituency, leading to other problems?
My response [to be read with the proper intonation]:
A "hero in IRAN"? Sure, he could go on the road with the President of Iran and they could do a "dog and pony show." If he became a hero in Iran I think it would illustrate just how low he has sunk.

He has no credibility in the sane world. So if he becomes a hero in Iran, it will say more about Iran than about him.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Lipstadt Interviewed on Arutz Sheva (Dec. 21/05)

Prof. Lipstadt was interviewed last month by Tovia Singer on Israel National Radio. You may listen to the interview here [mp3 11.9MB]

BBC Interview Generating Lots of Comment

You will find on Metafilter a interesting set of comments responding to the BBC interview.

A Reaction to the BBC Interview [disagrees with me]

Dr Lipstadt is being most gracious and magnanimous by extending good will toward David Irving. However, she ignores the essence of her writings by doing so.

David Irving is a threat because he incites and supports hatred of the most pernicious kind by providing support for neo Nazis with pretend scholarship that can easily mislead many people if it were not for those like Dr Lipstadt's meticulous and painstaking research.

Hate crimes are outlawed in the UK for the most part. That's why we've seen the arrest of BNP types more recently. There is an effort to address hate crimes by the police and other authorities. David Irving represents hate crimes which are the essence of Holocaust denial as I am beginning to comprehend thanks to Deborah Lipstadt's books.

There is not a free speech issue here. Although there is some problem with driving these people underground, it's the same as driving any other criminal underground. It keeps them subdued and establishes a standard for those who support truth and honest disagreement when it comes to hate crimes such as he


Dr Lipstadt removes the smokescreen from what these people do and say in her books ...but that is not enough. Their hatred and their incitements need to be seen for what they are and dealt with by democracies who need to protect against those who would deliberately mislead in order to unermine the democratic process.

These Holocaust deniers are the very ones who yell about free speech and then are the first to deny free speech to others who do not agree with them.

Gary D Chance
Xandor Limited
523 Hurstway Walk
London W11 1WF
044(0)207 229 3389 (Voice and Fax)

Lipstadt Interview in the BBC: "Irving? Let the Guy Go Home.... and Sink into Obscurity"

The following piece is on and has generated a great deal of comment. Many people praise my stance. [A number don't -- but that's ok.]

What I find striking is how many people are completely flummoxed [a wonderful British word meaning completely tzederte or, for those of you whose Yiddish is not up to par, it's a combination of confused and blown away] by the fact that I am not jumping for joy that he is in prison and hoping that the Austrians keep him there and throw away the key.

I wonder if, on some level, they have absorbed the image of me that deniers spread, i.e. a mean vindictive witch??

'Irving? Let the guy go home'
By Brendan O'Neill

David Irving, the infamous British war historian, is today sitting in an Austrian jail, accused of denying the Nazi Holocaust. So why is an American Jewish academic who dramatically crushed Irving in the British courts saying he should be released?

When you ask Professor Deborah Lipstadt for her thoughts on David Irving's forthcoming trial, the very last thing you expect her to say is: "Let the guy go home. He has spent enough time in prison."

Lipstadt, the American Jewish academic who exposes Holocaust deniers is not exactly David Irving's greatest fan.

But five years after she famously defended her own reputation in the High Court, and in doing so shredded Irving's, she is arguing that the Austrian authorities should probably let him go, saying the far-right will find a martyr if he goes to jail.

David Irving, 67, who made his name as a World War II historian, became infamous for suggesting that the Holocaust didn't happen.

But in November last year he was arrested in Austria for two speeches he made in 1989, during which he allegedly claimed there had been no gas chambers at Auschwitz.

It is a crime in Austria to minimise the atrocities of the Third Reich and the historian faces up to 10 years imprisonment if found guilty. Speaking after the arrest, Irving's lawyer said the historian no longer denies that gas chambers existed in Nazi death camps.

Yet Lipstadt, arguably the best-known warrior against Holocaust denial, believes that the best outcome would be for Irving to be let go.

"I would not want to see him spend more time in jail," she says. "I am uncomfortable with imprisoning people for speech. Let him go and let him fade from everyone's radar screens."

If there were to be a film of Deborah Lipstadt and David Irving, they would be presented as nothing less than arch enemies, fighting to the last - as they indeed did in the High Court.

Lipstadt has spent years exposing the arguments of Nazi sympathisers. She warns historians must "remain ever vigilant" against those who say the Holocaust was a hoax, "so that the precious tools of our trade and our society - truth and reason - can prevail".

The showdown came in January 2000 when she stood accused of libel for describing Irving in a book as "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial"; he accused her of "vandalising" his legitimacy as an historian.

The 32-day trial became a legal debate on the history of the Nazis - and the nature of truth itself.

Mr Justice Gray witheringly described Irving as anti-Semitic, racist and a Holocaust denier who had "deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence".

Irving had comprehensively lost not just his money, but his reputation. Much to the annoyance of those who have fought against him, Irving is still invited to speak both in Europe and the USA.

And Lipstadt raises questions about both free speech, and the publicity Irving stands to gain at his impending trial. "Generally, I don't think Holocaust denial should be a crime," she says. "I am a free speech person, I am against censorship."

"I don't find these laws efficacious. I think they turn Holocaust denial into forbidden fruit, and make it more attractive to people who want to toy with the system or challenge the system.

"We don't have laws against other kinds of spoken craziness. If you're a medical quack and you hurt someone, there's a law against that. "But if you're a medical quack and you stand on the street corner preaching that you have an elixir that cures cancer and saves lives, no one throws you in jail."

Holocaust deniers spread conspiracy theories such as that Anne Frank's Diary was a hoax, and that the gas chambers were built secretly built after the war.

But whether free speech should include the freedom to say such things has been the subject of furious debate on both sides of the Atlantic. Nine European countries, have laws against Holocaust denial - and supporters argue that this is the one issue that crosses the line because it is offensive to both the dead and the survivors.

In the UK, the free speech debate has focused on religious hatred: the government says it will outlaw incitement to hatred of believers. Opponents of the measure, including comic actor Rowan Atkinson, say it's an attack on free speech.

However, in the case of the Holocaust, Lipstadt says she recognises a case for laws in the lands that formed the heart of the Third Reich. "Germany and Austria are not so far past the Third Reich. So I can understand that the swastika symbol, Mein Kampf, Holocaust denial, being a neo-Nazi and all the rest have a certain potency there that they would not have in the United States," she says.

"And Austria is a democracy. If the citizens of Austria were against these laws, they could change them. Austria and Germany are different, but I would not support those laws being instituted elsewhere."

Lipstadt says the reason she is generally opposed to outlawing Holocaust denial is not because she fails to recognise how deeply offensive it is but because such laws tend to turn cranks into martyrs.

"I am not interested in debating with Holocaust deniers," she says. "You wouldn't ask a scientist to debate with someone who thinks the Earth is flat. They are not historians, they are liars. Debating them would be nonsensical.

"But we also should not allow them to become martyrs. Nothing is served by having David Irving in a jail cell, except that he has become an international news issue.

"Let him go home and let him continue talking to six people in a basement.

"Let him fade into obscurity where he belongs."

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

English Arabic Daily Al-Hayat on Arab and Iranian deniers

Hazem Saghiya, a columnist for Al-Hayat, the London Arabic Daily, writes about the Arab and Iranian Leaders Who Deny the Holocaust. His key comment is: "[This] is discussed only in intellectually and educationally retarded milieus."

He seems to recognize the damage this kind of rhetoric does to the Arab/ Palestinian cause.

He attacks Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi 'Akef, Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. For the entire article see MEMRI website. The following are excerpts, in the original English:

"Mahdi 'Akef has joined Khaled Mash'al, who, in his turn, had joined [Iranian President] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in denying the existence of the Nazi holocaust that targeted the European Jews. The issue is no longer tackled or discussed, except in intellectually and educationally retarded milieus.


"For the millionth time, the truth must be reiterated: the stance towards the Holocaust is not linked to the stance towards Israel. Those who connect the two are either staunch Zionists who consider that the attitude towards the Hebrew State is automatically the same towards the Holocaust, and vice versa; or Jewish haters who consider that acknowledging the Holocaust is tantamount to supporting Israel, and leave no space for contradicting it.

"Most importantly, the 'culture' of denying the Holocaust - which is, among other things, the outcome of lack of education - has grown to occupy a dominant position in public Arab and Islamic life. Although the issue was about to come to an end and be confined to narrow margins that gather utter fanaticism with utter retardation, the heavy, poisoned Iranian rain blew on us and was welcomed, quite avidly, by the eager Arab deserts.


The Iranians [together with a member of Palestinian Hamas] are still denying...

MEMRI has posted excerpts from a discussion about the Holocaust on the Iranian News Channel (IRINN), from December 27, 2005. The panel included a representative of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

These are classic and pretty crude Holocaust denial arguments. The echo many of the arguments David Irving raised in court and which we demonstrated were complete fabrications.

The Iranians don’t seem capable of leaving this issue alone. The only heartening thing is that it demonstrates to the world the depth of both Jew-hatred and irresponsibility of these people.

How can one make peace with people who are so eager to distort history?

*Iranian TV Holocaust Denial: Holocaust Denial on Iranian TV: Crematoria and Gas Chambers Were Used for Hygienic Purposes
Clip No. 982

Political analyst Hosein Rouyvaran: The number of Jews in the world (before World War II) was about 13 million. After World War II, the number of Jews in the world was over 12 million. The killing of six million Jews in the crematoria is a myth, not a fact, as proven by geography.

Furthermore, as Mr. Abu Jihad has stated, 50 million people were killed in World War II. Why do they focus on the figure of six million, even if we assume this figure is correct?

In addition, during World War II, many massacres were committed against humanity. We have Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and the city of Larson in Germany.

Auschwitz, Struthof, Mauthausen and Majdanek…. [were used
to burn the bodies of those who died of typhus or contagious diseases. This means the crematoria were used for hygienic, not political, purposes, and even this was not systematically.

The crematoria... The gas chambers were for disinfecting the clothes and the possessions of the prisoners. This too was done for hygienic reasons.

In any case, the many researchers who studied this issue said that of the several millions who died in the detention facilities, only 150,000 to 250,000 were Jews. This is a perfectly
reasonable figure out of the total number of victims.